It was a large hall located on the first floor.
The two stared at each others while the sounds of metals clashing nearby entered their ears.
Because the enemy surrounded them, their breaths turned rough. Or rather, it was because they felt something from the man standing in front of them.
(I see… So this guy is the one who killed Gaies-sama…)
Moore gazed at the individual standing in front of him.
At first glance, he was a young man with good physique.
A smile that looks good.
However, Moore can feel the sharp gaze the young man have.
That cold aura was filled with hatred.
( I see now, this guy is indeed dangerous for our country…)
Moore had heard rumors about Mikoshiba Ryouma.
He heard that Ryouma was similar to a dangerous monster who intentionally hide its fangs
Not only that, he heard Ryouma was like a poisonous snake when it comes to scheming.
(I’ve heard rumors about him enough to the point that I feel fed up. I heard he is a cautious and cunning man. And no matter how much advantage he has, he will always stand on the front line…)
Moore makes an eye signal to his other aides standing by his side to move up using the stairs.
It was a vague signal, but for those who know him, they would immediately understand what Moore had meant.
His other aides immediately head towards the stairs while bringing several soldiers with them.
(This is good enough… If we can gain some time, we can prevent the worst possible outcome…)
Inside the fortress library, various things that can never be handed over to an enemy were being kept.
After taking a glance at his aides retreating figures for a moment, Moore returned his gaze towards Ryouma.
(Did he have too much room, or did he have some other aim ? Why is he only standing ? Oh well, either way is good for me. It seems like he also wants to gain some time…)
Anyway, Ortomea Empire had its name reaching even across other continents as a powerful country from the western continent.
Yet a single man had escaped from such a powerful country. Not only that, he was an otherworlder whose social standing didn’t exceed even a slave. Furthermore, he was also a fugitive for killing Gaies, one of the pillars supporting the Ortomea Empire.
If other countries found out about it, Ortomea Empire could lose its face. That was why the news of Gaies’ death, as reported to the public, was that he passed away because of an accident.
A high ranking official died in the castle where the Emperor lives, not to mention the fugitive had managed to escape. It was obvious that the news had to be dealt with special care.
With the Emperor’s absolute authority, the Ortomea Empire managed to save its face by keeping the truth within the inner castle. However, the more one tried to hide it, the easier it ends up leaking, that was also the truth.
Although it was being kept secret, it was natural for the general public to hear some rumors once or twice. It was to the respect of the country that no one speaks about it loudly, but Mikoshiba Ryouma was indeed Ortomea Empire’s mortal enemy.
Looking at the surroundings, Moore clicked his tongue.
(Damn it, this is bad… Everyone is getting swallowed by this man aura.)
It was natural for Moore’s subordinates to hate Ryouma.
But on the other hand, however, it was also natural for human beings to fear and feel awe at something or someone and be unable to move because of its presence.
Simply put, for Ortomea’s Knights, Mikoshiba Ryouma was a hateful man, yet that they were unable to fully hate him.
The recent hard fights Ortomea Empire had these days. It was all started when Gaies, one of the military leader of the Empire died.
It was no exaggeration to say the man standing in front of them was the cause of Ortomea’s suffering.
However, as a warrior and as a man, they also respected Mikoshiba Ryouma as someone powerful.
After all, he had managed to escape the Imperial Palace with his individual strength alone and fled the country by outwitting imperial princess Sardina at each turns.
A country against an individual.
There was no doubt the difference in power was like that of the sky against the earth.
Nevertheless, the man in front of them managed to escape Ortomea’s fangs.
Even if Ryouma was their enemy, for Ortomea’s knights, they couldn’t help it, but recognize the achievements and abilities of such a man.
And it was also the nature of humans to envy things that one didn’t possess.
(I guess I have no choice, I have to buy us time as much as I could by myself…)
One shall choose the best option.
However, Moore had no other options left.
While keeping an eye on the surroundings, Moore opened his mouth.
“I see… As expected of someone I heard from those rumors. Diverting our attention from the front with arson fires, your aim is to burn the supplies without a direct fight, am I right?”
Moore tried to be as much calm as possible, but it seems his efforts were meaningless. Hearing him speak, everyone’s gaze shifted to Moore.
The only one who didn’t change his expression was Ryouma.
Ryouma’s attitude suggested that Moore’s guess was right.
(It was natural for the others to not notice his aim, even I didn’t until it was this late…)
Moore tried his best to keep his fighting spirit that was almost broken up, while his subordinates were at a loss for words after they heard his speech.
His prediction was right. However, as soon as he spoke about it, it turned into heavy pressure on the mind of Moore’s subordinates instead.
The Ortomea soldiers thought they had invaded the Zalda Kingdom with overwhelming power. But it was overturned in an instant.
That was why it was normal for the soldiers to feel uneasy.
For them, it made them feel like fools who thought they were in an advantageous situation, but actually not.
(What a man… Are all of the events under this man’s calculation? If that is true then, even the raids by thieves on the neighboring town or villages were also this man’s doing ?)
Inside Moore’s mind, he manages to gather clues, pieces by pieces.
For starter, the aim of the attacks on town and villages was to reduce the security forces in Notiz fort.
Otherwise, it was impossible to think that the lack of security guards, the thief attacks and the enemy present in front of them on the same day as just a coincidence.
(But then, how the hell did he cross the country and attack us from the back with an army ? The border between the Zalda Kingdom, ErnestGora, and the Ortomea Empire should have strict monitoring… No wait, there’s one possible way, but… It can’t be…)
There was only one possibility. However, such way was a very hard one to achieve.
In truth, it was impossible to monitor every inches of the national border.
There was no surveillance from satellite or radio in this world
The highway connecting every city across the western continent might have clear surveillance posts.
However, when it comes to an uninhabited area such as deep forests or steep mountains, the security on those places was low.
Even if one draw a border-line on the map, there was no actual man guarding such remote area.
Surveillance is usually being done around the important cities and border-crossing highways.
That was why, if one is brave enough to pass through the deep forests or steep mountains, one can actually invade any country.
In reality, those who are familiar with fights such as adventurers and mercenaries, or criminals such as thieves and others, it was normal for these people to explore or cross the border by using the forests and mountains.
However, that only applied to a small group of people, not a whole army.
Supply problems, marching speed, and others, there were many difficulties that make such maneuvers using an army as something next to impossible.
And above all, no matter how much risks are taken, if the whole army moves together, the movement would inevitably be detected due to its large numbers.
The danger of being detected by the enemy will increase as the size of the army increases.
But for the security of crossing those areas where monsters also exist, one very much needs to increase the size of the army.
In addition, a map was not as detailed as in the modern world.
Surveying technology itself was the field of state management, and most of the time national geography was handled as confidential information belonging to the military.
Under such circumstances, no detailed map was provided to the public no matter what era one was in.
For security and assured victory, one needed more soldiers, but to make the army maneuver successfully one also needs not be detected and thus to reduce the number of soldiers. Two contradicting choices.
That was why, in the long history of the previous world, many strategies were being carried out with the thought of a gamble or miracle, instead of a tactic.
And now, Ryouma was creating one such miracle. Plunging Ortomea Empire into a more desperate situation…
“Everything has gone according to your plan, eh?”
“Indeed, although it was not easy to achieve all of this either…”
Ryouma replied while shrugging his shoulders.
It might be a short reply, but he knew what Moore wanted to hear the most.
“Raids by thieves were scattered quite extensively around Notiz Fort. Which meant, small numbers of troops divided and entered the Ortomea Empire’s border before rejoining near Notiz fort while attacking towns and villages along the way, am I right?”
“You’re right, by selecting people with skills from ErnestGora, Zalda Kingdom, and the private corps of thieves that General Belharres had prepared beforehand. We managed to pull it off although it was pretty close to gambling…”
“General Belharres private corps? Is this about the Red Moon group?”
It was the nickname of the unit the late General Belharres had created.
It was a unit filled with people with a criminal record, such as thieves, murderers and rapists.
Because of their vandalism, that group was hated by the citizens of the eastern Ortomea Empire.
“Apparently, they were initially tasked to grasp the Ortomea Empire’s topography. That was why I managed to use them effectively…”
“Everything is for victory… Is that what you wanted to say?”
“Indeed, for victory in this war, I will even employ criminals if there’s value in using it. Everything is for victory…”
Ryouma said all of that with a gentle smile on his face.
In actuality, Ryouma himself knew that those group of people were heinous criminals
Back then, if Ryouma hadn’t come to help Laura and Sara, both of them would have ended up getting raped.
People sometimes contradict themselves with the beliefs they claim to hold when it comes to victory in war.
Ryouma didn’t like them and hated them. He hates them to the extent he wanted to kill them all, but this was not about likes or dislikes…
He could not forsake victory in war because of a personal grudge …
(What the hell is with this man…)
One didn’t have to wash away people’s actions and forgive them if it was something wrong.
However, one shall endure one’s grudges if you needed their power in warfare.
Understanding that, Moore held his breath unintentionally.
Such behavior was not befitting of a warrior or a knight. It was the way of thinking of skilled politicians or diplomats.
(We cannot let this man alive any longer… He’s too dangerous for our nation…)
There was still a chance for Moore to escape the current predicament.
If Moore used his full ability and sacrificed the knights around him, he might be able to escape.
However, Moore chooses to fight rather than escape.
(I should’ve earned enough time… What left now is to end this situation…)
“Fight me one-on-one ! Mikoshiba !”
It was a sudden and absurd shout.
Everyone present turned an astonished gaze at Moore.
However, Moore had conclusive evidence that Ryouma wouldn’t turn down his challenge.
In the first place, Ryouma should not be here if he was not ready for a fight.
(I don’t care whatever your plan is…)
Fighting spirits spread inside Moore’s body.
The excitement raised his body temperature.
Moore also started to activate the Muladhara chakra inside his body.
A stream of ragging Prana began to flow.
Moore then carefully controls the flowing prana while fixing his breath.
Following that, Moore also slowly activates the second and third chakra, the Swadhisthana chakra and the Manipura chakra.
(Preparations complete… I don’t care if I have to die here… I will bring you down together with me !)
Moore grasped his beloved sword tightly, and the carved pattern on the sword began to emit a pale light.